Friday, April 20, 2012

books 2012 #8-13

Rocket BoysRocket Boys by Homer H. Hickam

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved seeing the way that Homer was transformed from an average boy, just content to loaf along, to a rocket scientist. He was transformed by his passion. He wanted to be a part of the space race so badly that he went from being a mediocre student to one who, with a partner, taught himself calculus. He had a very supportive teacher and a mother who believed in him, but other than that, he was battling against people's low expectations.

In addition to working hard, everything seemed to work in his favor — the football team was banned from playing, which really helped to catapult the rocket boys from outcasts to town stars, and even his father came to admire his efforts.

A real tribute to pursuing your dreams (and autodidacts!).

The Tale of DespereauxThe Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am wavering between 4 and 5 stars on this one because Eva and I both loved it so much and hated for it to end.

Despereaux is a mouse who, to the mortification of his family, prefers music and stories to learning to scurry and nibble book pages. It is also a story about the rat Chiaroscuro who craves light instead of the darkness and suffering that prevails in the dungeon where he lives. And it is also the story of a princess named Pea and a serving girl named Miggery Sow.

I loved the story, and I loved the writing. The author addresses the reader and asks interesting questions that provoke thought and good discussion.

And any book that can teach my child to use the phrase "perfidy unlimited" appropriately is a winner for me!

Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally decided to rectify the fact that I hadn't read this classic. It just seemed like too big an oversight in my reading education.

I used to have a thing about Dickens. A thing where I couldn't read him. But after I successfully read A Tale of Two Cities (on the second try) and enjoyed it, I knew I should give him another try.

Great Expectations has real characters. Pip and Magwitch and Miss Havisham and Estella and even Mrs. Joe Gargery have real dimension to them. Not sure about Joe, but I love him anyway. There is also real growth, which is deeply satisfying to me.

I don't think I'm through with Dickens yet!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Re-read this aloud to Eva and she loved it. It was just as much fun as when Marc and I read it to Max when it first came out!

  Before I Go to SleepBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is between 3 and 4 stars.

Not exactly great literature, but a compelling page-turner that kept me up late in the night.

Does have some language.

Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early GradesLittle Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades by Michelle Anthony

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Somewhere between 3-4 stars, actually. This might be one to own.

The premise is that we need to establish the kind of relationship where our children feel comfortable coming to us with their problems, knowing that we will take their concerns seriously and be supportive. Then, we help them to be objective and brainstorm together for solutions.

We need to teach girls to be assertive. So often girls (and women) are expected to be passive. Many of them are, but when pushed past their breaking point, they become aggressive. The goal is to teach assertiveness so that they can bypass passivity (which can harm them) and aggression (which can hurt others and relationships in general.)

A four-step program is outlined to help parents and children through this process:

1. Observing (body language, seeing the bigger picture, "hearing" what your child has not yet told you)

2. Connecting (listening actively, being fully attentive to your child without imparting your feelings, values, or judgments (yet), clarifying what you have understood from what your child has said, showing empathy)

3. Guiding (working together to allow your child to better understand the situation and to come up with a wide array of possible solutions, scaling the worry to an appropriate size)

4. Supporting to Act (supporting your child to act from a secure place - your relationship - and a place of personal power, discussing pros and cons, helping your child to choose a solution that she can live with and feel comfortable about.)

Lots of realistic examples along with play-by-play parenting tips for various situations. Girl friendships are fraught with drama and our daughters need all the help they can get to navigate these difficult waters!

Teaching girls to be assertive and to recognize their personal power to respect others and require respect in return? I can totally get behind that.

View all my reviews

1 comment:

Jill said...

You're a reading machine!

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